One to One: The blog of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association provides a wealth of concrete information about the church’s relief activities in Iraq and Syria. In addition to providing tangible goals we can act on, the site also serves as an inspiration for Christians wishing to create their own aid projects.
If you wish to donate to CNEWA (and dislike the idea of entering financial information online—I know I do), you can send a check to the address below; they’ll acknowledge your gift with a letter. Since CNEWA provides care to several countries (Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria), specify the country you wish to support on the check. Bear in mind that although a remnant of Iraqi Christians remain in Iraq, many displaced Christians have landed in Jordan and Syria.
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY NY 10022-4195
Web site: http://www.cnewa.org/
Phone Number: (212) 826-1480.
CNEWA is a ministry of the Roman Catholic Church. I welcome information about aid programs from other front-line Christian groups that are offering direct emergency aid, and a physical presence, to our persecuted brethren.
While Christians and Muslims are more widely distributed around the world, the other groups have a majority of their populations in just one or two nations, according to 2010 estimates from our Global Religious Landscape report.
Over 100 Christians, including children, were arrested during a major house church raid on Sunday in Foshan city in China’s Guangdong Province. Close to 200 police officers stormed in during the service, eyewitnesses said, believed to be part of a large-scale crackdown on Christians in the country.
Four hundred fifty eight years ago, a crowd of curious spectators packed University Church in Oxford, England. They were there to witness the public recantation of one of the most well-known English Reformers, a man named Thomas Cranmer.
Among the thorny theological questions that divide men, one that hasn’t been much considered is “Can you love your neighbor as yourself, and at the same time, knee him in the face as hard as you can?” In fact, that very question is posed by one of the subjects of Fight Church, the new Lionsgate documentary by Daniel Junge and Bryan Storkel, that follows the fights and faith journeys of a more than a half dozen mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in and out of the ring.
When an Episcopal chaplain at Yale University seemed to suggest that Jews were culpable for Israel’s actions against Palestinians and a related rise in global anti-Semitism, his comments not only led to his resignation but rekindled a debate within mainline Protestant churches about how to respond to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A religious group called The Satanic Temple is making plans to hand out literature in Orange County Public Schools later this school year, following distributions by atheist and evangelical Christian groups.
Longtime Touchstone supporter, Gina Danaher, visited Israel this June with a varied group of Christians, among whom was her Roman Catholic friend, Maureen. One Sunday the two set out to find a local Catholic Mass for Maureen and were shocked to discover that many churches in the city have moved their celebrations to Saturday, in conformance with prevailing local custom—they were empty. Gina was undeterred:
“At this point we had failed to locate a Catholic Church in our area of Tel Aviv, so I thought maybe we would find a Mass at St. Peter’s in Jaffa. Maureen didn’t want to trouble me, but at least I wanted to see this old church… since this church was built to commemorate Peter’s vision at Cornelius’ house in the Book of Acts. By this time Maureen had given up on a Sunday Mass, but when I went into the church, a mass was being served by a Korean priest and a Korean deacon to about 23 South Korean deacons-in-training.”
“Their worship songs were sung beautifully and accompanied by one of the young men on a small size, travel guitar. They sang “All in All”, just as we do at Grace Fellowship, but in Korean. This brought tears to my eyes as I filmed them.
As we talked to these young men after the Mass, we learned that they were completing their training as deacons and were visiting the Holy Land as a part of that training. They would then proceed to Rome. Their tender love of Christ was humbling.”
It was on this date, September 18, 1947, that the United States Air Force became an independent branch of the military. Although the beginnings of the Air Force go back to 1907, it was only in 1909 that the Army bought its first airplane. By the start of World War I, the Army owned five airplanes. From the humble beginnings, at its height in World War II, the Army Air Corps, as it was known then, had as many as 80,000 airplanes. Today, the Air Force has approximately 5,600 active airplanes.
On these pages, I wrote earlier this week about the unnamed atheist airman from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, who the Air Force was not allowing to re-enlist because he refused to conclude his oath with “so help me God.” Although the “so help me God” language has long been included in the enlistment oath by federal statute, until October 2013, an airman could opt for an alternate phrase and omit the “so help me God” language. Because he was not being allowed to re-enlist, the airman threatened to sue the government with assistance from American Humanist Association attorneys.
However, at the first whiff of grapeshot over this matter, the Air Force has surrendered. Effective September 17, 2014, both enlisted members and officers may omit the words, “so help me God” from their oaths if they so choose. The Air Force made this change based upon a legal opinion from the Department of Defense General Counsel (an Obama appointee). According to the legal opinion, an individual may strike or omit these words if preferred. So again, under the Obama Regime, a long-established federal law only means what he wants it to mean. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (also an Obama appointee) stated, “We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously. We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.” I suppose that the rights of Christian Air Force Academy cadets aren’t included. A copy of the Air Force press release is available here. Please continue to pray for our soldiers and airmen, particularly for those who serve in harm’s way. Or should we no longer care?
Western society is currently experiencing what can only be described as a moral revolution. Our society’s moral code and collective ethical evaluation on a particular issue has undergone not small adjustments but a complete reversal. That which was once condemned is now celebrated, and the refusal to celebrate is now condemned.
Once upon a time there was a church founded on God’s entering into human history in order to give humanity a path to eternal life and happiness with him. The Savior that God sent, his only-begotten Son, did not write a book but founded a community, a church, upon the witness and ministry of twelve apostles.
Will the housing allowance for ministers still be available in the near future? Though we can never predict a court ruling with certainty, there are indicators that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will dismiss the case that is attempting to eliminate housing allowances completely. Simply stated, there seems to be a good probability that ministers will be able to continue to take the benefits of the housing allowance.
I think we’re beginning to ride a spiritual wave that will wash over African-American communities and churches. There’s a reformation (or, if you prefer, a revival) on the way. I think it’ll crash against the banks of Black life with the tidal force of a tsunami.